Entamoeba histolytica causes about 50 million infections worldwide with a death rate of over 100,000 annually. In endemic developing countries where resources are limited, microscopic examinations based on Wheatley trichrome staining is commonly used for diagnosis of intestinal amoebiasis. Other than being a time-consuming method, it must be performed promptly after stool collection as trophozoites disintegrate rapidly in faeces. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacies of Eosin-Y, Wheatley trichrome and Iodine stains in delineating the diagnostic features of the parasite, and subsequently to determine the suitable microscopy observation period for detection of erythrophagocytic and non-erythrophagocytic trophozoites spiked in semi-solid stool sample. Wheatley trichrome staining technique was performed using the standard method while the other two techniques were performed on the slides by mixing the respective staining solution with the spiked stool sample. One million of axenically cultured non-erythrophagocytic E. histolytica and erythrophagocytic E. histolytica were separately spiked into 2 g of fresh semisolid faeces. Percentage viability of the trophozoites in the spiked stool sample was determined at 30 minute intervals for eight hours using the 0.4% Trypan blue exclusion method. The results showed that Eosin-Y and Wheatley trichrome stained the karyosome and chromatin granules better as compared to Iodine stain. The percentage viability of non-erythrophagocytic trophozoites decreased faster than the erythrophagocytic form in the first 5 hours and both dropped to ~10% in the 6th hour spiked sample. In conclusion, Eosin-Y staining technique was found to be the easiest to perform, most rapid and as accurate as the commonly used Wheatley trichrome technique; Eosin-Y stained slide sealed with DPX could also be kept as a permanent record. A period not exceeding 6 hours after stool collection was found to be the most suitable in order to obtain good microscopy results of viable trophozoites.
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